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Obama declares ‘long-term campaign’ against IS

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NewsGram Staff Writer

United Nations: Acknowledging that annihilating the terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS) would be a “long-term campaign”, US President Barack Obama reiterated his determination to destroy the group.

“We are harnessing all of our tools – military, intelligence, economic, development and the strength of our communities” to combat the extremist group, Obama told a summit at the United Nations on countering the IS and violent extremism.

“In Iraq and Syria, the IS is surrounded by communities, countries and a broad international coalition committed to its destruction,” said Obama on Tuesday, reported Xinhua news agency.

“We are seeing a new global movement to counter the violent extremism that IS needs to survive,” he added.

Mentioning that vanquishing the outfit is “not an easy task”, Obama said the current approach will take time. “There are going to be successes and there are going to be setbacks,” Obama noted.

“This is not a conventional battle. This is a long-term campaign is not only against this particular network, but against its ideology.” He also called for renewed effort to stem the radicalising networks that are attracting recruits to the extremist group.

(With inputs from IANS)

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US Backtracks on Iraqi, Kurd Cease-fire Claim

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An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri
An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq. VOA

Iraq, October 27: The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State announced Friday morning a cease-fire between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in Northern Iraq but quickly backtracked on the claim, saying it is not an “official” cease-fire.

Army spokesman Ryan Dillon posted a clarification on Twitter to say “both parties (are) talking with one another,” but that a “cease-fire” had not been reached.

The Iraqi military and the Kurdish minority have been clashing for several weeks after the Iraqi troops moved to secure areas in northern Iraq that had been seized from IS jihadists by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish forces abandoned the land largely without resistance, though low-level clashes have been reported.

Iraqi PM rejects Kurdish offer

The areas Iraqi forces are moving into were mostly under Baghdad’s control in 2014, when Islamic State militants swept into the region. Kurdish Peshmerga and coalition forces recaptured the lands, and the Kurdistan Region has since held them.

The Iraqi leadership said it is retaking the areas to establish federal authority after a Kurdish referendum for independence in September threatened the nation’s unity. More than 92 percent of Kurds in Iraq voted “yes” in a vote Baghdad called illegal, and the international community leaders said was dangerous and ill-timed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday rejected an offer by Kurdish leaders to freeze the results of their independence referendum in favor of dialogue in order to avoid further conflict.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, in a statement, said the confrontations have hurt both sides and could lead to ongoing bloodshed and social unrest in Iraq.

“Certainly, continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life,” the KRG said.

‘Unified Iraq is the only way to go’

Abadi said in a statement his government will accept only the annulment of the referendum and respect for the constitution.

During a briefing Friday morning at the Pentagon, Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. told reporters the U.S. believes “a unified Iraq is the only way to go forward.”

He added, “We’re not helping anyone attack anyone else inside Iraq, either the Kurds or the Iraqis.”(VOA)

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